Boot Camp for New Dads

June 13, 2008 7:27:46 PM PDT
Sunday will be the first Father's Day for several men who recently graduated from a boot camp for new dads. Instructors say the program benefits the entire family.The birth of a baby can also deliver a variety of emotions for new mothers and fathers.

Lamar Henderson: "You experience more love than you've ever experienced in your life. But also understand that it's going to be one of the most stressful times in your life."

Lamar Henderson learned that lesson first hand by having two daughters. Now he and other veteran dads share their knowledge with rookie fathers twice a month through a three hour boot camp.

Lamar Henderson/"Boot Camp for New Dads" instructor: "We really stress the importance of dads bonding with their children, having physical contact, changing diapers, getting up for feedings, and just being hands on from the beginning."

Anthony Tucker Jr./First time father: "Lamar made it really comfortable. I feel really good about it now because my dad wasn't there for me. So I figure I gotta be here for this guy."

The county-run program also teaches fathers how to deal with stress to keep them from shaking their infants.

Henderson: "Shaken baby syndrome occurs 95% of the time with the father."

Eric Price says the class helped him prepare to be a stay at home dad.

Eric Price/First time father: "It really helped me get over being nervous about being a dad. I didn't have any idea how what I needed to do or what it was going to entail, so it was a lot of useful information."

But the fathers and their children aren't the only ones who benefit from the men-only workshop.

Corrina Brown/New mother: "For me as a mom, I feel comfortable leaving him with the baby so I can take a nap and not have to stress over can he do it? Can he change the diaper? Can he manage to handle her?"

The only thing Steve Brown can't do is imagine how it will feel to celebrate his first Father's Day.

Steve Brown/First time father: "It's different. I don't know what to expect."

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Location:
Mercy Medical Center, Merced Community Campus
301 East 13th St.
Merced, Ca

Time:
9am-12pm

Dates:
July 5, July 19, Aug. 2, Aug. 16,
Aug. 30, Sept. 13, Sept. 27, Oct. 11,
Oct. 25, Nov. 8, Nov. 22, Dec. 6

Boot camp workshops are also held in Los Banos every six weeks.
For more information, call the Merced Co. Human Services Agency at 209-385-3000.

Merced County Fatherhood Program
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